ST. PETERSBURG - In the span of a week, RHP Alex Cobb's recovery from a concussion and vertigo progressed from him expecting to play catch Monday afternoon to throwing his first bullpen session since being struck June 15 on the right side of his head by a line drive.
"That's a good sign of how fast things are moving," Cobb said after throwing 29 pitches.
Physically, Cobb said he felt fine Monday. He said his command was surprisingly sharp for someone who hadn't pitched in 19 days. The vertigo is still an issue when he tilts his head in a certain way.
Cobb said he passed one round of concussion tests.
"I think that there'll be more," he said. "All I hear is that it's very difficult to get cleared. We haven't finished that process because we're not ready. But once I'm physically ready I shouldn't have a problem passing the tests."
Cobb said it's too early to set a timetable for when he will return to the team.
"I don't have a set date," he said. "What we're doing right now is keeping my physical condition up to par with game activities and building up to that right now. Once the other conditions go away I'll be able to jump right back in. It's hard to say when those things are going to go away. We're trying to get it going in that direction. We're on the right path. I just can't say a certain date or week or anything along those lines, but the progress is going pretty quickly."
Longo returns to third
Evan Longoria played third base Friday for the first time since tearing the plantar fascia tissue in his right foot exactly one week earlier.
Longoria had served as the designated hitter during the last three games of the four-game trip to Houston earlier this week.
"He said during the game (Thursday) that he was feeling pretty good," manager Joe Maddon said, joking that Longoria was motivated by being removed for pinch-runner Sam Fuld in the eighth inning Thursday.
Zobrist takes a break
2B Ben Zobrist went hitless in his last 16 at-bats in Houston and said he didn't argue with Maddon when told he was not in Friday's lineup.
"It's a good time to hit the refresh button," Zobrist said.
Half of those outs were fly balls, including four to infielders. Zobrist said that suggests a mechanical flaw in his swing.
Maddon thinks it might be from taking too many swings every day between batting practice, hitting in the cage, off a tee and in the game. Maddon would also like Zobrist to cut down on the amount of swings he takes each day.
"Sometimes that is an indication of being a little bit tired," Maddon said. "That was one big fly ball that whole time in Houston. We got to get him back on the line (drives)."
Who's an All-Star?
The teams for the July 16 All-Star Game will be announced tonight. The Rays will have at least one representative, because those are the rules. They could have more if you ask Maddon.
"You'd like to believe Longo is going to be involved in that," Maddon said. "On the pitching side, record-wise Matt Moore's got to be considered strongly for that."
Moore is 11-3. Maddon said you can also build a case for closer Fernando Rodney (18 saves), SS Yunel Escobar and 1B James Loney.
Loney extended his hitting streak to a career-long 16 games Friday, matching Longoria for the longest on the team this season.
Loney entered Friday's game seventh in the AL with a .317 average. His .367 road batting average is tops in the majors. His .392 average in the seventh inning or later is the highest in the AL.
"From what I'm seeing right now, he should be able to maintain a pretty good number average-wise," Maddon said. "I didn't realize he was this smart of a hitter. He really knows what he's doing at the plate."
RF Wil Myers has hit safely in 15 of his first 18 big-league games. . Moore, who faces the White Sox tonight, is 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA in his last three starts. "I feel much better over the last few (starts)," Moore said. "I think we're in a good spot right now."